Crafty Natalie
28Oct/140

Creamy Jalapeno Dip

A few weeks back my friend treated me to a home cooked birthday lunch! One of the dishes was a yummy appetizer that is a copycat recipe from Chuy's. I've never eaten at a Chuy's (I think it's a Texas based restaurant and it only just opened up recently in the NOVA area). I love Mexican food, and I'm totally a sucker for any kind chips and dip! The dip she made was based after this recipe she found on Pinterest. Since I've never eaten there, I don't know how much it tastes like the real thing, but what I can say is that this stuff is seriously awesome and SOOOO addictive!!  After searching for other copycat recipes I think this one probably sounds the yummiest (there are quite a few that are mayonnaise based so I think just for the "lightness" factor I like this one best!) :) We've made it a few times since I was introduced to it!  If you are turned off by the jalapenos and chile, it is a fairly mild dip, I altered the recipe just slightly and my three year old LOVES it, so it's definitely not super spicy (though if you want it to be spicier by all means add more jalapenos and chile!! I've generally stuck to one jalapeno when making it because I have a young one eating it!)

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Chuy's Copycat Jalapeno Dip

  • 1 packet Hidden Valley Ranch Dip
  • 16 ounces sour cream
  • 1/4 cup roasted green chilies ( I used half of a canned jar but man, I bet fresh roasted chilies would totally make this dip!!  I also read on some other copycat recipes that people were just using salsa verde, so if you don't want to buy green chilies and have salsa verde on hand, I'm guessing it would work just the same!)
  • 1-2  jalapenos, sliced (if you are worried about spiciness you can always deseed it, or only use one!)
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1/3 cup cilantro
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup milk to thin it out
  • Blend everything together, refrigerate and serve cold! It should make almost 3 cups of dip- but trust me it will go fast! Great with celery and carrot sticks too!
16Oct/140

Autumn Decor

When we had started planning for the new house one of the items on my wish list was a front porch! I always envisioned sitting out on the porch during the warm months just watching the kids play and run around! Well summer is over and I still haven't found the "perfect" porch set to sit on! Guess it's a good thing I now have till spring to figure that out! ;) But with the porch looking so bare, it's time to start with some other decorations!

At the old house we hardly ever put out seasonal decorations, mainly because there wasn't a whole lot of room, and partially because we got lazy! Now that we are settled and have the kids to create fun things for, I figured seasonal decorations are probably a must now so I really have to get on it! ;)

I decided on something simple and small. I like the idea of decorating but always have to remember what goes up eventually has to come back down! I figured for our porch we'd stick to an Autumn theme and not necessarily Halloween that way I could keep the same decorations up until after Thanksgiving! I decided on some hay bales- well, make that ONE hay bale!! I had actually bought a couple and once I opened up one my OCD took over, the flying hay all over me and the porch was enough for me to say no thank you, one is enough and back to Michaels I went to return the other! We normally buy pumpkins but I decided that in addition to some real ones, to buy a fake white one that I could embellish that we could use year after year. The hardest part was trying to decide which font to use for our family name!

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I wanted to add a pop of color to my display, and one of my favorite fall colors is deep purple/plum, so I decided to paint an old pasta jar to hold some fall sprigs. I ended up also cutting a fall saying out of some metallic vinyl and tied some twine around the mouth of the jar. I think the purple looks great against all the orange and red!

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I wanted to add a few other pieces and found a metal owl that went perfectly! And we all know how much I love owls! My son picked out a tiny scarecrow pic to stick into the hay bale. All in all I love the simplicity of our fall porch!

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10Oct/140

Beer and Wine Lover Gifts

Since the holidays are coming up I thought I'd work on a few new gift ideas for the beer or wine lover! I always try and throw in something handmade with my Christmas gifts- and purses, baby gifts, and other tumblers can only go so far!

I had come across a fun beer geek periodic table type graphic tee and thought those would be fun to recreate and put on the Brews and Vino 2 Go's! Let me tell you, staring at the periodic table and recreating the squares for these things about made me cross-eyed! And totally reminded me how much I disliked chemistry in high school! And anyone who thinks that creating something as *simple* as this takes a few minutes, you're wrong! I know it's a pretty standard font, but I must've redesigned this a dozen times to get the font to what I wanted!! Go figure standard serif fonts would be the death of me!

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I do love the way it turned out and hope that people will think it's a fun gift idea! I may be making a few beer lovers some tees to go with it! ;)

A few weeks ago I had a friend ask if I could make a coffee mug with the "Shhh, there may be wine in here" saying on it.  I guess it must be a popular thing right now because I also had someone request the same thing with, "There's a chance this is wine!" It took me a while to find some blank coffee mugs and when I found some black ones I knew using pink (or even turquoise!) vinyl would be the perfect color combo! The fonts I used are my go to girly kind of fonts! Especially since they are thicker styled fonts too! I dread thin fonts (mainly not only because they are a bear to weed and not lose pieces!) but also because durability wise, the thicker the font the more adhesive to stick onto your object and longer staying power!

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I think the pink really pops against the black! These would make some cute co-worker gifts! I am sure I am not the only one who would wish their coffee mug at work was filled with something a little stronger sometimes! ;)

 

 

25Sep/140

Wood Art Frame

Wood art has always been on my list of things to work on! I have several ideas that I want to create for the house, but I just haven't gotten around to it! So, when I was contacted by my brother in law's niece to make her an anniversary gift, I of course agreed! I scoped out several places for some reclaimed wood but was unable to find any. I was REALLY tempted to go dumpster diving in the neighborhood since our street is still under construction and some building materials gets delivered on pallets, every now and then some pallets get left behind! Let me tell you, it took everything in me not to scrounge around the dumpsters for wood that's being recycled! :)

Since my attempts at reclaimed wood failed, I ended up just going to Home Depot for some of their pine boards. My husband was able to saw it for me (I ended up using him too to do all the drilling to attach everything together!) The most tedious part of the project really was to sand everything down. This order was actually really simple because I was given the color theme and basically told to do whatever I wanted with it! I had wanted to make a nice frame attachment for the photo and found some laser cut frames from Michaels that I was able to paint. I still need to figure out-or get a different saw- how to make a frame attachment on the wooden boards where the picture can be swapped out! Since the order was supposed to be in black and white, I first painted part of the boards white for the lettering. Then cut out the phrase in vinyl and stuck it on top of the parts that were painted white, and then painted the entire frame black. (Apparently this is called the Paint Vinyl Paint method!)  There was some bleeding after I removed the vinyl to show the white lettering. Of course I found out after I completed the project that some people will actually go back over and paint the vinyl the color of what is underneath to seal it in again to prevent bleeding of the main color! (Yup, and that would be the Paint Vinyl Paint Paint method!)  DUH, not sure why I didn't think of that or even see that method till after the fact! Oh well, now I know for next time! Once everything was dry I ended up lightly sanding just to give it a not so stark look, and then coated the entire board with a sealant.

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I love the way the board turned out and was thrilled that the couple loved it too! It definitely was a lot less intimidating than I thought it would be, and now that I've got this one under my belt, I can get started on some new ones for the house!

 

23Sep/140

Chalk Paint Table Makeover

When we moved into our new house, the kitchen table that we had from the townhouse was way too small for the new space. It took us over a month to find a new one that would work in our new kitchen area so we had to make do with the tiny table for a short time! My husband had planned on tossing out the old table once the new one was delivered but I begged him to let me keep it! I had plans for it! (The words he dreads hearing I'm sure! ;) ) I had previously made over a few other pieces of furniture, and it was not as easy in real life as it is in my head when I'm planning these things! Last year, after I gave an old accent table a makeover  I thought, ugh, never again! The sanding alone was enough to make me forget ever wanting to redo any furniture! But then I kept reading about chalk paint (first I'd heard of the Annie Sloan chalk paint) and then discovered a new product called BB Frosch Chalk Paint Powder (to me that was the most logical because you could mix the powder into paint you already had!!) I had thought about ordering some, but of course while at Michaels one day I came across the Americana brand of chalk paint (and I had a 40% coupon off that I could use! So in the end, convenience and a sale won out!)

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There wasn't a great selection at Michael's (not sure if it was just over sold, or if my local store just didn't have a lot in stock), but one of the colors that was available was exactly what I had in mind! I chose the Treasure color because it actually matched a cabinet I had made over that was currently in my new studio space (which reminds me that I have not shared that previous make-over either! Been trying to find the before picture of the cabinet so I could show what it looked like before I painted!) Sadly, I also don't have a before picture of this table either, but from the above picture you can see it's just your ordinary wooden table. I ended up doing two coats of the Treasure color. I decided to just keep the table legs in its original black (partially out of laziness and partially because I thought the contrast of the turquoise and black would be fun!)

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After I had finished the table top I realized I wanted some kind of wax finish on it. I figured since it'd be a table that I'd be sitting at and working on, it would probably need some kind of protection. On a recent trip to Jo-ann Fabrics I discovered that they have a line of chalk paint there as well made by FolkArt so I decided to try one of their finishing waxes (and of course had a 40% off coupon to use!) Their display was much more abundant than the one at Michaels, it seemed they had a handful more colors of paints as well, and three different finishing waxes! I chose the white wax to finish off my table with!

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Overall I love the finished product! Both brands of chalk paint that are readily available at the local craft stores were really easy to use. I love the way the white finishing wax softened up the turquoise color (slight user error on my part because as I started to finish the table I didn't quickly wipe away the wax initially so there are some spots that are more white than others!) But overall, I will take chalk paint over sanding and priming any day! ;)

 

 

 

 

16Sep/140

Cozy Coupe Makeover

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SCORE! $4 yard sale find!

Last year I kept seeing all sorts of fun Cozy Coupe makeovers on Pinterest. Since we were in the process of moving and putting things into storage, redoing something for our son was out of the question! So once we got settled into the new house and I found one being sold on a local yard sale site for $4 I had to grab it! Our son is tall, so even though he's only 3.5yrs old, he probably won't get much use out of it after this year but at least it can get passed on to his little bro! We went through several different ideas until he settled on wanting a fire and rescue car. I figured that worked best because I could just spray paint it white and reddish/orange. Since the spray paint color I picked for the body ended up being so close to the original color I only needed one can of paint (rather than two like I had been seeing from other makeovers who were drastically changing the colors).

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The most tedious part really was just removing all the stickers and scrubbing the old car down! Since I suspect this is one of the original versions (have you seen how they've changed through the years! I actually prefer this style over the "bubblier" ones these days!) The car is also missing it's gas cap too, so there was lots of loose debris stuck inside! Since there are also only two screws that need to be taken out, it's a pretty simple spray paint job! Just cover the tires and wheels with some plastic and then once you've cleaned everything you are set to start painting! I kept seeing everyone using the Krylon for plastic spray paint, but they don't carry that at my Home Depot so I ended up using the Rustoleum 2X Ultra Cover Paint+Primer which also works on plastic (only problem I really had was when I first started painting the hood it kind've pooled up and so it looks a little crackled, but I figured it's really no biggie and probably more user error on my part since I was rushing!) I let it dry for a few days and ended up just doing a simple vinyl design on them. I found a fire rescue emblem on Google that I was able to trace and used that for the top of the hood and door. I also just used a regular block font for the words, and then also cut out some new "lights" out of some florescent yellow vinyl for the back.  I figured if I went and did anything more extravagant then it might never have gotten done! ;)

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All in all, I'm happy with how it turned out! A simple $10 project that hopefully both boys will be able to enjoy while playing outside! (Don't mind the cheesy picture! My son now thinks that all pictures should be of him with his eyes squinted shut! Sighh...I don't know if we'll ever get a good family photo again! ;) )

 

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7Sep/140

Food Allergy Alert Containers

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During my short break between the new baby and move, I had lots of time to think about all the new items that I wanted to work on! One of them actually came from several postings I kept seeing about food allergies. I worked in early childhood for over ten years, and the majority of schools here are all nut free but there are still several schools that allow certain products in as long as everything is labeled clearly. It got me thinking about those with food allergies and what if they were in a situation where an adult who was caring for them may not have been as aware of their restrictions or the severity of it. (Instances being substitute teachers, or even if you were to send your child on a playdate or something where you wouldn't be present. Though I am sure that most parents who have children with food restrictions are very diligent in informing anyone their child comes in contact with of the severity of their allergies!)

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Since I was already working on lunch containers for B starting preschool, I decided to make some for friends who had children with food allergies and even listed a few in the shop for those who might be interested in them- for the ones that are pre-made and ready to ship, I made sure to leave spaces for personalization as well. I noticed that there were few online shops that  sold lunch/snack containers with the allergy alerts on them, but there were stickers that you could buy for them. Since I personalize most of my housewares and acrylic items using permanent glossy vinyl, and vinyl installation can be tricky for some I decided to just offer the allergy alerts with the container itself so as to avoid any mis-applications!

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And for those who have allergies other than nuts there is always the option to just make a food container listing the known allergies with the child's name on it!

6Sep/140

Back To School

Summer has quickly ended and the kids have gone back to school! Our little guy started preschool this week! He's been really excited and has had no fears or hesitations about being away (after being home with me for 3.5 years this is a great relief on my part and because his adjustment has been so easy, it's definitely helped keep me calm too!) Since we have to pack his lunch (and everything needs to be labeled) I decided to make him a few personalized lunch containers- I even let him pick out his own designs!

IMG_5307I also made him one that has divided sections. (And even though the sandwich container doesn't have sections and I can't imagine him actually eating a sandwich everyday, it's simple enough to add sections with fun cupcake liners that can be easily tossed!) Since we have to label everything clearly, this one has a small rectangle that is cut from dry-erase vinyl. Makes it really easy to have to label what is in his lunch container rather than writing on masking tape!

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The little guy loves picking out which lunch container he'll get everyday!

15Aug/140

Giveaway!

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Since I am starting to get back into the swing of things, I thought what better way than to get back into my groove by doing a giveaway!! If you haven't already head on over to Crafty Natalie on Facebook for your chance to win a personalized jewelry dish! You get to pick how you want it personalized! And if you don't feel like waiting to see if you're a winner, head on over to the shop to order one! :)

12Aug/140

Crafty Natalie on Instagram

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I've had my Instagram account for over three years now and have always kept it private since they are mostly personal pictures. Recently I've been getting more and more requests from people to follow me, so I decided to create a second account specifically for the "business" side of Crafty Natalie! This account will be open for everyone to follow and will feature projects that I'm working on, items that are currently listed in my Etsy Shop, and of course other fun stuff! I figured a second account would make it easier for those who enjoy following the crafty side! So if you'd like to be kept in the loop on items I've been working on you can find me here (it's the same user name as my Etsy shop- craftynataliedc) :)

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